The University of Massachusetts Amherst

"China: 1600 to the Present": History 115 (Gen Ed DGHS)  Fall 2022

Students will live in Thoreau Hall in the Southwest residential area.

Read what Fall 2022 instructor Guanhua Tan has to say about the course: 

How do you perceive China? Is it:

  • A producer on the global market?
  • A political rival of the United States?
  • A country enjoying a well-deserved revival in its search for wealth and power?
  • A combination of the above or perhaps you have an entirely different image of China?

This course will invite students to understand the complex history that lies behind commonly circulated images of modern China. It will explore China’s transformation from an empire to a modern nation-state. In addition to covering crucial historical events, the course will examine some hot topics relevant to the present, including trans-Pacific trade, migration, and environmental issues. The course will help students to gain experiences of working on college-level writing assignments, participating in-class discussions, conducting group projects, and using numerous resources of the Library or UMass.

"Literature & Culture" - Afro Am 151 (Gen Ed ALDU) Fall 2022

Students will live together in Moore Hall in the Southwest residential area.

Read what Fall 2022 instructor Kymberly Newberry has to say about the course:

Black Studies, also referred to as African American Studies, came into being at the turn of the 1960’s into the 1970’s in response to the Civil Rights Movement and the United States government’s impetus for a diversified curriculum on college campuses across the nation. As you can imagine, with such a wide scope of possible areas of study that this broad area encompasses, the field of Afro Am studies is interdisciplinary.

Afro Am 151 provides immersive encounters with both historical and contemporary expressive material culture of the African continent, as they serve to clarify our modern day understanding of and linkages with Africa. This course will approach culture and critical theory shaping the study of African and African descended people from the nineteenth century to present in the African Diaspora and the United States. 

This iteration of Afro Am 151 will cover a range of issues and disciplinary approaches. We will explore cultural constructions as well as analyze, query, and challenge “Western-centric” views of the artistic practices of the African continent focusing on the expressive material culture of people of African descent both in America and the African Diaspora.

We will approach several monumental texts and films; however, an important component of our exploration will include visits to nearby art museums as well as “Masterclasses” or classes conducted on occasion by scholars or experts in the field.

This is a participation-heavy class. Each class meeting, participation from as many students as time permits is encouraged.

"Hunger in the Global Economy": Resource Economics 121:  (GenEd DGSB) Fall 2022

Students will live together in Wheeler Hall which is located in the Central residential area.

Read what Fall 2022 Gazi Uddin has to say about the course

Although more than enough food is produced on this planet to feed everyone, 1 in 15 children die before 5 years of age from hunger-related causes. About 1 in 9 people on earth cannot afford enough food to get sufficient nutrients for their bodies. Our goal is to use ideas, and methods of analysis in the social sciences to address fundamental questions to the real-world problem of hunger.  

In this class, we will examine the hunger and malnutrition issue from an economic point of view by considering how the world population dynamic and the interaction between demand and supply for food affect the global hunger situation. Economics provides us with basic analytical tools with which to look at the world. These tools can help us understand why hunger exists and is persistent around the world. We will also become familiar with the basic analytical tools used to evaluate development issues. We do this by using empirical evidence, discussions, and critical thinking. By the end of the course, we will be familiar with the central issues and the key debates related to hunger in our global economy. 

"Ancient Civilizations": Anthropology 150 (GenEd DGHS) Fall 2022 

Students will live together in Mary Lyon Hall in the Northeast residential area.

Read what Fall 2022 instructor, Ryan Rybka has to say about the course: 

In this course, we will use archeological data to explore a range of ancient societies around the world. We will study questions such as: 

  • How can we interpret cultural behavior with only physical remains left to guide us?  
  • How can the study of prehistory and past civilizations help us to gain a critical perspective on the present?  

We will study small-scale foraging societies, the invention and spread of farming, the emergence of the first cities and states, and even the collapse of civilizations. What can we learn from the first societies who: domesticated crops; built religious temples; and created different social classes? 

Throughout the course, we’ll discuss different ways that people gain and maintain power from past to present and attempt to relate what we see in the archaeological record to our own human experience. Throughout the semester, we will learn about methods of research and theories that come from archaeology, anthropology, history, materials science, and other disciplines. 

Cultural Explorations RAP